Dear Sidharth, 40 is no age to go

Sidharth’s DP on his chat reads, ‘You may know me. But you’ve no idea who I am." I guess we will never know the real Sidharth Shukla

Dear Sidharth, 40 is no age to go

Subhash K Jha

When I heard of Sidharth Shukla’s going on Thursday morning, my first reaction was of disbelief. I quickly went to my WhatsApp and messaged him, ‘Sidharth, are you okay?’. Of course there was no reply because he was not okay.

To lose one’s life at the cusp of the Big Explosion is a cruel blow dealt by fate. I knew Sidharth when he gained popularity on Balika Badhu in 2012. He was restless and he didn’t really want to get typecast as a television actor. Like all ambitious TV actors, he gravitated towards the big screen . His debut in the Karan Johar produced Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya didn’t go well for him. I don’t think Sidharth liked playing a supporting role to Varun Dhawan.

Thereafter he stayed away from cinema, and decided to forge a different path for himself. The opportunity to make his presence felt came on Big Boss Season 13 where he not only won the contest but also left an indelible mark as a volatile hot-tempered impetuous ladies’ man who called a spade a spade. Sidharth came out of Bigg Boss a star. Everyone loved his rebellious performance.

He couldn’t believe what was happening to him. “It’s all quite unreal. Earlier, they would associate me with the serials I acted in and call me by the names of my characters. Now they call me Sidharth Shukla. I really like that. I've only received love and appreciation. Maybe I see only the love because that's what I want to see. There were those who felt I didn't have it in me to win. I just proved them wrong; I did have it in me.”

Before he could enjoy the fruits of his stardom the lockdown happened. Sidharth’s career plans were on hold.

In my last interview with him Sidharth said, “We are in an alarming situation. We wait for an antidote to the virus. Until then we don’t know where we can go. Yes, my career is on pause. But that’s the least of the problems right now. In the meanwhile I am doing my usual cardio-vascular, leading a very regimented life at home. Everyone wants to resume work, but at what cost?”

I do know he was flooded with offers after the Bigg Boss victory. But Sidharth had put all career decisions on hold until the pandemic was over.

In my last interview with him Sidharth said , “I really wouldn’t know what lies in store for me. I don’t know what I will be resuming with. All that needs to be figured out after work is resumed. I can’t pick the one thing that I will be resuming with. It will have to be figured out after the lockdown. I can’t be whining about my lost opportunities when the world is in a chaos. Yeah, of course there are lots of things that were waiting to happen after Bigg Boss. They’ll just have to wait.”

Sidharth led a very disciplined life. He ate frugally, slept well , did his exercises vigorously neither drank nor womanized.

About his lockdown regime he said to me, “I am eating a healthy diet, no extra eating for me .In fact I’m not doing anything that I wouldn’t do in normal circumstances. I am not even bingeing on web serials. I don’t want to get addicted to them . Throughout this lockout I’ve watched only one web series Suits. That’s it.”

He indulged in no excesses and in spite of the reputation of being a ladies’ man the only woman in his life was his mother.

Sidharth’s DP on his chat reads, ‘You may know me. But you’ve no idea who I am."

I guess we will never know the real Sidharth Shukla. Rest in peace, Sidharth.

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